Charles River Blue Cities Initiative

Massachusetts receives about 45 inches of precipitation every year. In the natural environment, almost half of this rainfall filters into the ground, and nearly all the rest returns to the sky as water vapor. In cities, we have paved over the ground and cut down many of the trees that turn water into vapor. The result: well over 50 percent of the rain in a typical year quickly becomes polluted storm water runoff. Developed areas are designed to collect and discard rain quickly, dumping runoff in the river system through storm drains. Bigger storms overwhelm the system, resulting in flooding

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